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“Every child deserves the best possible start in life and support to fulfil their potential…experiences between birth and five has a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up”
Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage”, Department for Children, Schools and Families, (2017)
Early Years Foundation Stage at Rimrose Hope
At Rimrose Hope we believe that a love for learning starts with the youngest of our children. As a school we endeavour to capture and spark the imaginations of our youngest children so that they can become lifelong learners. We aim to make learning fun, engaging and authentic for our children. We inspire children through an imaginative and immersive curriculum, which ensures that the children are happy and enthusiastic to learn. Our school is a vibrant and exciting place to learn and both staff and children are extremely proud to be a part of it!
Through strong relationships between staff, parents/carers and children our children feel loved, secure and valued and thrive within our care. We are committed to the development of the 'whole child' and pride ourselves as being inclusive; treating every child as an individual. Staff are passionate about creating a caring and nurturing environment which is inclusive and sensitive to needs of the individual child including those with additional needs. Staff have high expectations of children and promote a positive 'can do' approach, building confidence and encouraging independence. Our children are taught to a high standard and make excellent progress across all areas of EYFS. Our children are well supported and encouraged to be independent learners with a curiosity and desire to learn as they start their journeys with us. Staff nurture our children and support them becoming independent, confident, curious and resilient learners as they transition into KS1.
Our Nursery and Reception classes follow the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. Our aim is to provide the children with a play-based curriculum that is tailored for each child’s individual needs. We offer a welcoming, safe and secure environment where children’s excitement and love of learning can be sparked and developed. In line with Early Years research Communication and Language is at the heart of our curriculum. This approach is supported by EEF research, which recommends prioritising the development of communication and language (EEF, 2018). We build on these fundamental skills, extending learning to the Specific Areas; ‘The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development’ (DfE, 2021).
Experiential learning (learning by doing) is a method of learning where children actively participate in the lesson process and it makes lessons personal to children by including them in the instruction process.
Reflecting this Early Years philosophy there is always a wide variety of experiences on offer at Rimrose Hope; adult led explicit teaches, child led continuous provision and adult supported enhanced continuous provision.
The Early Years at Rimrose Hope extends children’s interest and knowledge beyond their immediate experiences. The visual, auditory and kinaesthetic approach to teaching and learning is fundamental in all our curriculum provision. Children make relevant links from their learning to other curriculum areas and leave the Foundation Stage as motivated, confident learners ready for the curriculum challenges for Key Stage One.
We provide a broad, balanced, relevant and creative curriculum that will set in place firm foundations for further learning and development in Key Stage 1 and beyond and enable choice and decision-making, fostering independence and self-confidence and instilling a love of learning for our children for their journey with us.
Assessment is crucial in improving learning. Formative assessment is used regularly to inform teachers of ongoing progress and allows adjustments to be made that reflect the learning needs of all children in our settings. Feedback is continually given to children, which leads to better outcomes in the early years. In line with our school assessment policy, summative assessment in the form of teacher assessment is carried out at the end of each term in Nursery and Reception to inform the overall progress made by each child on a yearly basis. Two-year-old checks are carried out in Buddies and are shared with parents. Continuous formative assessments form children’s independent learning plans and curriculum planning within Buddies. Phonics assessment are completed each half term in-line with the Read, Write, Inc phonics programme followed in school. In both the Buddies, Nursery and Reception setting a baseline assessment is carried out in the first half term of school. The Reception children complete the NFER statutory baseline assessment.
Our curriculum allows for the children to progress in their knowledge by first remembering more, progressing to knowing more which they can then draw upon as they learn to reason and explain. Our curriculum is authentic and inclusive and provides our children with the skills to be lifelong learners.
Communication and Language
The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. Children’s back-and-forth interactions from an early age form the foundations for language and cognitive development. The number and quality of the conversations they have with adults and peers throughout the day in a language-rich environment is crucial. By commenting on what children are interested in or doing, and echoing back what they say with new vocabulary added, practitioners will build children's language effectively. Reading frequently to children, and engaging them actively in stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems, and then providing them with extensive opportunities to use and embed new words in a range of contexts, will give children the opportunity to thrive.
Through conversation, story-telling and role play, where children share their ideas with support and modelling from an adult, and sensitive questioning that invites them to elaborate, children become comfortable using a rich range of vocabulary and language structures across all areas of learning and through play.
Children’s personal, social and emotional development (PSED) is crucial for children to lead healthy and happy lives, and is fundamental to their cognitive development. Underpinning their personal development are the important attachments that shape their social world. Strong, warm and supportive relationships with adults enable children to learn how to understand their own feelings and those of others. Children should be supported to manage emotions, develop a positive sense of self, set themselves simple goals, have confidence in their own abilities, to persist and wait for what they want and direct attention as necessary. Through adult modelling and guidance, they will learn how to look after their bodies, including healthy eating, and manage personal needs independently. Through caring and supportive relationships with adults, children will learn to self regulate their emotions and begin to read emotions of others. Through supported interaction with other children, they learn how to make good friendships, co-operate and resolve conflicts peaceably. These attributes will provide a secure platform from which children can achieve at school and in later life.
Physical activity is vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives. Gross and fine motor experiences develop incrementally throughout early childhood, starting with sensory explorations and the development of a child’s strength, co-ordination and positional awareness through tummy time, crawling and play movement with both objects and adults. By creating games and providing opportunities for play both indoors and outdoors, adults can support children to develop their core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, co-ordination and agility. Gross motor skills provide the foundation for developing healthy bodies and social and emotional well-being. Fine motor control and precision helps with hand-eye co-ordination, which is later linked to early literacy. Repeated and varied opportunities to explore and play with small world activities, puzzles, arts and crafts and the practice of using small tools, with feedback and support from adults, allow children to develop proficiency, control and confidence.
Literacy sessions are planned for daily. Our Literacy sessions are based upon the themes that we are to cover and follow our teaching style. The sessions are based upon the children using the concrete, pictorial and symbolic approach. This means that they will have as many practical experiences as possible before we expect them to make the connection with pictorial images and finally more abstract symbolic concepts. Adults model early writing and reading. Our Literacy is underpinned by quality key texts which are shared with the children by adults modelling reading the texts and linked practical activities which engage children in our indoor and outdoor continuous provisions. In Buddies, guided sessions are in the form of story time, rhymes, songs and role play. In Nursery, guided seasons are in the form of story time, rhymes, songs, sequencing activities, retelling or stories, role play and early writing activities. In Reception, guided sessions are in the form of modelled and shared writing, sequencing of events, use of Think Charts and organisers and role play.
We choose our key texts for literacy very carefully, based on extending children’s vocabulary and from these we extend topic based learning opportunities.
It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. Language comprehension (necessary for both reading and writing) starts from birth. It only develops when adults talk with children about the world around them and the books (stories and non-fiction) they read with them, and enjoy rhymes, poems and songs together.
Skilled word reading, taught later, involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words.
Reading starts in the Early Years and is facilitated through the Read, Write, Inc Phonics programme; children are taught the sounds and then taught how to blend these sounds for reading. Children are introduced to tricky words; words that cannot be sounded out. When they are ready, the children take home a reading book that is suited directly to their phonics ability. In Reception, children read in a guided reading group with an adult twice a week and read 1:1 daily supporting children with the skills of segmenting and blending decidable words and the application of reading tricky words. In Nursery, guided reading takes the form of sharing key texts and exploring the text through a range of practical and pictorial activities.
Writing involves transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech, before writing.)
In the Early Years, any mark that a child makes is considered important as these are the early stages of writing. Children are monitored as they experience using different grips with writing implements, with the aim of encouraging children to use the tripod or pincer grip when they are developmentally ready. Children will start ascribing meaning to their marks and as they take part in daily phonics sessions their writing will develop into beginning to write some simple CVC words and then onto writing phrases, captions, speech bubbles, posters and finally sentences. In Nursery if the child is developmentally ready and in Reception we also focus on letter formation so as we learn a sound in phonics sessions we also learn the correct way to form it. Writing is modelled by the teacher daily through literacy sessions and guided writing sessions, children complete daily guided writing activities and there are extensive independent writing activities throughout the indoor and outdoor provision.
Reading starts in the Early Years and is facilitated initially through developing their 'listening ear' which build secure early foundations which helps prepare them for successfully accessing the Read, Write, Inc Phonics programme. In Read, Write, Inc the children are taught the sounds and then taught how to blend these sounds for reading. Children are introduced to tricky words; words that cannot be sounded out. These Read, Write, Inc sessions are explicitly taught daily with opportunities for the children to rehearse and develop confidence in knowledge previously learned as well as apply their knowledge to new situations. Targeted phonic interventions take place daily and individual children are planned for through a targeted approach within provision.
Maths sessions are planned for daily and children are taught explicitly in small groups with either the Teacher or the Teaching Assistant. Work is recorded in our Tapestry Learning Journal and in an electronic “Floor book”. The work within the floor book exemplifies the process undertaken in learning a mathematical concept.
The children in Nursery and Reception are immersed in maths; it is planned for in the environment and with additional opportunities to develop mathematical skills - (enhanced continuous provision across indoor and outdoor provisions, targeted interventions and weekly challenges)
Developing a strong grounding in number is essential so that all children develop the necessary building blocks to excel mathematically. Children should be able to count confidently, develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 5 and then to 10, the relationships between them and the patterns within those numbers. By providing frequent and varied opportunities to build and apply this understanding - such as using manipulatives, including Numicon , counters and five and ten frames for organising counting - children will develop a secure base of knowledge and vocabulary from which mastery of mathematics is built. In addition, it is important that the curriculum includes rich opportunities for children to develop their spatial reasoning skills across all areas of mathematics including shape, space and measures and this is planned for throughout the indoor and outdoor continuous provisions.
In line with Bruner’s theory of learning, new concepts are taught enactively, then iconically and, finally, symbolically as ways of capturing experiences in the memory. We also believe that it is important to include practical activities and discussion as an integral part of mathematics lessons; and the use of pictorial recording and the classroom environment are also important.
New mathematical concepts begin with the use of structured concrete materials including: structural apparatus such as cubes, counters, 3D shapes or weighing scales as well as contextual objects such as teddies or coins for counting or sorting; then develop imagery with pictorial representations including: children’s own mark making, simple drawings and part whole models using concrete resources; and lastly move to the abstract/symbolic which include: young children’s emergent graphics, early number formation and number sentences.
It is important that children develop positive attitudes and interests in mathematics, look for patterns and relationships, spot connections, ‘have a go’, talk to adults and peers, convince Maths Monkey about what they notice and not be afraid to make mistakes.
Although a wide variety of concrete resources are used, Numicon is seen as a major tool in a child’s mathematical learning. Numicon shapes can be seen as 'pictures of numbers'. Numicon's imagery uses patterns to represent each numeral. The patterns are structured so number relationships can be seen and experienced. Numicon encourages an understanding of numbers and their relationships. Understanding numbers is reinforced through talk and use in real-life contexts. We strongly believe in a do, talk, record approach to support children’s confidence and understanding of mathematical concepts.
Expressive Art and Design
The development of children’s artistic and cultural awareness supports their imagination and creativity. It is important that children have regular opportunities to engage with the arts, enabling them to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials. The quality and variety of what children see, hear and participate in is crucial for developing their understanding, self-expression, vocabulary and ability to communicate through the arts. The frequency, repetition and depth of their experiences are fundamental to their progress in interpreting and appreciating what they hear, respond to and observe. Throughout the continuous provision, children have access to resources which enables them to work creatively from our creative areas in the classroom, to transient art activities outside and large scale resources for creative learning outdoors.
Children have access to a variety of different musical instruments that allows them to explore with pitch and sound. Children participate in music lessons where children are encouraged to sing as part of a group or individually. They are also introduced to musical instruments, rhythms and early music notation (stop and go signs.) We use the Charanga music scheme and BBC Sounds to enhance our music provision.
Understanding the World
Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community. The frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increases their knowledge and sense of the world around them – from visiting the Zoo, visits from the pony sanctuary and important visitors such as dentists, police officers and nurses. In addition, listening to a broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems, will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity with words that support understanding across domains. Enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension.